There are several parts of The Shack that are painful and difficult to read. The first is in the beginning when we read of the kidnapping of Missy, the search that ensues, and the realization that the kidnapping ended in death. While the details are not written per se, it is still difficult to read and process that information.
The second part is when Mack returns from his visit with Sophia (Wisdom). He dives into how Missy felt when the actual kidnapping was happening . . . he struggles to understand it and as any loving parent grieves because of the pain she must have felt. It’s important to note, however, how Jesus responds.
The way P. Young writes about God’s presence through Christ and the Holy Spirit is so powerful and poignant. It isn’t an “easy” read, but if we will read this and then process it while applying it to our own lives, then the worst things won’t need to feel like the last things, even before we encounter them.
As Mack departed from the visit and made his way down the trail, he realized something was missing. His constant companion, The Great Sadness, was gone. It was as if it had been washed away and he began to wonder who he would be now that he was letting it all go.
As he processed this he decided to confess one thing that still bothered him about Missy, “I keep thinking about her, alone in that truck, so terrified . . .”
Jesus said, “She was never alone. I never left her; we never left her not for one instant. I could no more abandon her, or you, than I could abandon myself. She knew I was there.
At first when it happened – the fear was overwhelming and she was in shock. It took hours to get up here from the campsite. But as Sarayu (Holy Spirit) wrapped herself around her, Missy settled down. The long ride actually gave us a chance to talk.
She may have only been six years old, but Missy and I are friends. We talk. She had no idea what was going to happen. She was actually more worried about you and the other kids, knowing that you couldn’t find her. She prayed for you, for your peace.
Mack, I don’t think you want to know all the details. I’m sure they won’t help you. But I can tell you there was not a moment when we were not with her. She knew my peace, and you would have been proud of her.”
So . . . there was NOT A MOMENT that she was alone.
Just like in the book Missy wasn’t alone – there is NOTHING that you and I face that we have to “go it alone!”
Jesus . . . who knew the heart of God more than anyone else we can relate to or understand, tells us that he goes before us . . . he prepares a place for us – so – he makes the way clear for us. We don’t have to be alone. We don’t have to be afraid.
This puts the worst things in a new light. And yes, ultimately – the worst things are not and will not be the last things.
When Mack worked through this with Jesus, he was then able to walk on the water . . . uninhibited and unafraid.
1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”
5 Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”
6-7 Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” (John 14)